NAIROBI, Kenya, March 6 – Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has been singled out by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner (IEBC) as the agitator of an assault on a female poll official in Matungu constituency by-elections in Kakamega county on Thursday.
The commission named Malala in a statement issued on Saturday in which the poll agency vowed to pursue assault cases recorded during chaotic mini-polls conducted in various parts of Western and Rift Valley on Thursday.
According to IEBC, goons organised by Malala assaulted, harassed, frog marched, and insulted a female officer in one of the polling stations in Matungu constituency.
It is in the same constituency that former Sports Secretary Rahid Echesa was captured on video slapping an electoral staff igniting anger from a section of Kenyans online .
The police launched a manhunt for the former CS before his eventual arrest in Mumias following what the police said was a ‘tipoff from a good samaritan’.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati also said the commission will organize counseling sessions for staff that were terrorized.
“The commission will in the meantime organize counseling sessions for election officials traumatized by the violence witnessed during these by-elections as it also pursues the cases of assault and destruction of election materials with the office of Director of Public Prosecution,” IEBC said.
Chebukati said the commission is committed to ensuring those involved in harassing and assaulting election officials are charged in court.
The electoral commission conducted two parliamentary by-elections in Matungu and Kabuchai constituencies and five ward by-elections in Kiamokama ward in Kisii county, Kithuke Kitise ward in Makueni county, Huruma ward in Uasin Gishu, and Nakuru county’s Hell’s Gate and London wards.
IEBC raised concerns that if unchecked, the growing trend of lawlessness and violence witnessed during and before the polss is likely to threaten national security ahead of the 2022 General election.
“The commission strongly condemns all forms of electoral malpractices and in particular acts of violence against poll officials faithfully discharging their duties in the various by-elections of Thursday,” Chebukati said.
IEBC confirmed that there were no incidences of electoral violence and allegations of voter bribery in Huruma and Kistise/Kithuke wards in Uasin Gishu and Makueni counties.